Seventh and eighth graders from Eisenhower Middle School participated in its third annual EMS Student Unity Tour Wednesday afternoon under clear blue sunny skies and warm weather at Horseshoe Lake Park.
Over 100 middle schoolers and some staff rode their bikes and cheered on their classmates to raise money for the National Police Unity Tour.
Student Unity Tour Raises Funds for Roxbury Police
Eighth graders led off the event behind Roxbury Police Officer Silvio Valdes. Valdes was tasked in leading the way by Chief Marc Palanchi. Palanchi shared with the students that Valdes would be retiring in February and this might be his last tour. Student riders and staff rode two laps (3.5 miles) around Horseshoe Lake Park to honor Police Officers that had fallen in the line of duty. EMS students were fortunate enough to ride alongside many of the local police officers that participated in the National Unity Tour a few weeks ago to Washington, D.C.
This event was started two years ago at the school through the Character Education Committee and has continued to grow with participation and enthusiasm.
The Unity Tour kick off started Monday night at EMS with a Meet and Greet. Students and their families had a chance to meet with some of Roxbury’s law enforcement officers over some sandwiches and desserts donated by local vendors. As part of this meet and greet, students were able to drop off their bicycles in anticipation of the big event, eliminating the chaos Wednesday morning.
Students, staff, and officers gathered at Horseshoe Lake for a brief opening ceremony led by Heather Roddy, EMS Physical Education Teacher and event coordinator.
“When you’re organizing this, you have one little goal in your mind that when we send our police officers off to the unity tour we’re standing there proud as a school that we had something to do with that,” said Roddy.
Roddy’s goal this year was to break $10,000 cumulatively from the last three years.
“This year guys raised $4,647, but as usual, guess what you did,” she said. “You surpassed the $10,000 mark and you guys hit $15,133!”
Roddy recognized the class and the teacher that led in donations saying, “There has been one teacher leading in the role of donations and stepping out into the community with their students and raising the money for our officers to travel to D.C. and that is Ms. Kim Farina’s Class. She won it again!”
Part of Wednesday’s event by Eisenhower Middle School is honor the Roxbury Police Department for their community outreach and for everything they do for this town.
Roddy shared how special this event is saying, “We have three organizations teaming up together for one common cause. We have Eisenhower Middle School, the Unity Tour started by Patrick Montuore, and the people that make this event what it is, the Roxbury Police Department. Our primary goal of this program is to build strong community relationships while creating really great memories along the way.”
Adding, “The lasting memory I want to pass on to you is the lifelong commitment to give back to your community and I have no doubt that you guys are going to be doing that.”
Special thanks went out to local businesses and groups that took part in this year’s event. Those named were Anthony & Sons, Burrini’s Olde World Market, DJ Chris D’Amico, EMS PTO, Marty’s Bikes, Roxbury Rotary Club, Roxbury Bagel, and ShopRite (Romano Family). Additional thanks went out to individuals who helped bring this event to fruition.
According to the Police Unity Tour CEO and Founder Patrick Montuore, “Every year hundreds of law enforcement officers die in the line of duty. Nothing can ever replace them to their family and friends. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. allows for their memories to live on and honors these men and women forever.”
If you would like to offer support for this EMS event in the future, please reach out to Heather Roddy (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Eisenhower Middle School.
About the Police Unity Tour
The Police Unity Tour Incorporated was formed in 1997 by a group of law enforcement officers from New Jersey who rode their bicycles from Florham Park, NJ to the Memorial in Washington, D.C. about 330 miles, with the purpose of raising awareness of those law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and financial support for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and Museum. Since 1997, the Police Unity Tour has grown to include nine chapters and over 2,300 members nationwide. $2.8 million was raised this year.
PHOTOS ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Public Schools)
- EMS Unity Tour Group Picture
- Holland’s at Unity Tour – Roxbury Police Officer Matt Holland and his son Michael at this year’s EMS Unity Tour
- Heather Roddy at the EMS Unity Tour’s Opening Ceremony
- Eighth grade student speaker Tim Wilk
- Eighth graders Cameron Curtiss and Morgan Valdes share memories of the Unity Tour as both fathers are Roxbury Police Officers and participate in the annual Unity Tour to D.C.
- Roxbury Chief of Police Marc Palanchi speaks to students
- Patrick Montuore talks about the fallen officers and the purpose of the Unity Tour
- EMS Staff at Unity Tour
- DJ Chris D'Amico keeps the riders and cheerleaders pumped throughout the tour
- Grace Morales and Camilla Gill support the EMS Unity Tour
- EMS Unity Tour Pictures
- EMS Teacher Adam Mahmoud supports the EMS Unity Tour
- Principal Miller hands out ice cream after the ride
- EMS Unity Tour on its Way
- Silvio Valdes leads the way
- Cameron and Steve Curtiss
- Silvio and Morgan Valdes
VIDEOS (courtesy of Roxbury Public Schools)
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